Hospitalization for Severe Asthma

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Whether your Peak flow reading, which measures how quickly you breathe out

  • , which measures how much air you breathe out in 1 second
  • Blood oxygen levels, as measured through a device on your finger
  • Hospital Stay

    Even if your symptoms get better quickly, your doctor may want to keep you in the ER for a few hours to make sure symptoms stay under control.

    If you still have signs of after several hours of treatment, doctors may have you stay in the hospital. You also may be admitted if you have asthma complications, such as air in your chest.

    Another reason for a hospital stay is if you have so much trouble breathing that it exhausts you. Sometimes oxygen levels go down so much during an attack that doctors worry you could go into failure without quick treatment.

    A hospital stay for an asthma attack usually lasts 3-5 days. Rarely, an asthma attack is so severe you may need a breathing tube to pump oxygen into your lungs.

    Going Home

    Not all your asthma symptoms need to go away for your doctor to let you leave the hospital. But they have to be much better. You’ll need a follow-up visit soon after being released. Your doctor will give you directions on what to do if you have another attack.

    Usually you’ll be prescribed corticosteroid drugs to take at home to lower the chances of another severe attack. If your results are still a little low, your doctor will also be more likely to release you if they think you’ll take your medications correctly.

    Prevent Future Emergencies

    The best way to prevent another severe attack is to treat an asthma flare early with a nebulizer and possibly corticosteroid pills. Take all your regular medications as outlined in your asthma action plan.

    Another key step is to avoid your specific . Talk to your doctor to determine what triggers your asthma (such as dust, smoke, cold weather, , or viruses). Washing your hands often can help lower chances of catching a cold or other virus.

    If your asthma isn’t well-controlled, chances are higher that you’ll have another severe asthma attack. Be sure to go to all scheduled doctor’s appointments. If you have regular flares or other signs your asthma isn’t well-controlled, see your doctor.